Athletes' Rights and Obligations

The provisions of the World Anti-Doping Code (the “Code”) and of the Swiss Olympic Doping Statute (the “Doping Statute”) form part of the rules of sport. These provisions protect the right of athletes to a doping-free environment and to fair competition. It is important that athletes at all competition levels know their rights and also their obligations. The most important of these are listed below. 

Doping controls

The anti-doping provisions apply to all athletes who are licence-holders or members of an association or federation affiliated to Swiss Olympic. The same applies to participants in competitions held by such organisations. These athletes may thus be subject to doping controls at any time.

When undergoing a doping control, athletes have the following rights and obligations.

Rights:

  • to correct and confidential treatment by the persons performing the controls, who must provide official evidence of identity;
  • to be informed of the consequences in the event of refusal to comply;
  • to be accompanied by a trusted person;
  • to engage an interpreter if necessary;
  • to have the control procedure explained and their questions answered;
  • to choose from a selection of originally packaged control materials, and to handle them themselves;
  • to note the comments about the control procedure, and especially anything that appears unusual, on the control form;
  • to the presence of a person of the same sex when providing a urine sample;
  • to receive a copy of the signed form;
  • to be informed of the results of the analysis.
     

Obligations:

  • to keep themselves informed on a regular basis about the anti-doping regulations that are currently in force, including banned substances and methods (e.g. via www.antidoping.ch);

  • always to inform medical personnel that they must comply with the anti-doping regulations;

  • to undergo a control when required to do so (refusal to give a sample, or to evade or manipulate the doping control, constitutes a breach of the doping regulations);

  • to provide evidence of identity to the person carrying out the control;
  • when required to undergo a control, to confirm this by signing the control form;
  • to be supervised by a control officer (shadow) between receiving the request and reaching the control point;
  • to sign the form after the control is completed.

Strict Liability

The principle of strict liability requires a high degree of independent responsibility on the part of athletes, as they are liable for all prohibited substances found in their sample. It is therefore extremely important for athletes to ensure that all medicines, supplements or other substances that are being taken are free from any prohibited substance.

Athletes must fulfil the following obligations in this regard:

  • to check changes to the doping list on an annual basis;
  • to check the doping status of any medicines or related products on www.antidoping.ch or the drugs app before taking them;
  • if undergoing medical treatment, to inform the medical specialists that they are subject to anti-doping provisions; 

Whereabouts requirements for athletes in a testing pool

Individual athletes and teams at national and international competition levels are assigned to a testing pool. They are required to provide quarterly reports on their probable future location (whereabouts), and must keep this information up to date. They are also subject to specific requirements concerning Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUE). The scope and details of these obligations are determined by the performance level and the corresponding testing pool. 

Rights and obligations in the event of infringements of the duty to report

Any failure by RTP and NTP athletes to comply with the aforementioned whereabouts requirements will be punished by a warning. The athlete will receive a preliminary decision informing them of the alleged infringement and giving them the opportunity to respond. Once it has received this response (if any), Antidoping Switzerland will decide whether or not a warning is to be issued. Athletes can have warnings examined by an independent lawyer (known as an “administrative examination”, see Downloads).

Three warnings issued within any 12-month period constitute a breach of Art. 2.4 of the Doping Statute, and may be punished by a variety of measures, including a ban of at least 12 months. The corresponding proceedings are conducted at the request of Antidoping Switzerland by the Swiss Olympic Disciplinary Chamber for Doping Cases. The Disciplinary Chamber will examine in particular whether all three warnings were rightfully issued by Antidoping Switzerland.